Stanford Linguistics
A Stanford Linguistics 
       department        contribute        archives

Department News

  • Whew. That was intense. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Open House, especially Diane Jakobowski, who organized it all so amazingly well! Don't forget the Sem Fest next Friday!
  • No other subject in the university is as important as fieldwork... So says the Humanities Express of The Ohio State University. And they cite alums Mary Rose and Judith Tonhauser in making the argument. Check it out (with pictures) HERE.
  • Luc Baronian and his wife Stephanie Michelet are happy to announce that Cael Vasken Michelet Baronian was born on February 26. Everything is going well, he's happy, healthy and very calm... Sesquifelicitations to the whole Baronian-Michelet family!

    Bienvenu Cael Vasken Michelet Baronian!

  • divider

    Look Who's Talking

  • And let's not forget this summer's ACL (Association for Computational Linguistics) conference, hosted by The Ohio State University, where a number of the department's computational types will be presenting, videlicet:
    • Efficient, Feature-based, Conditional Random Field Parsing
      Jenny Finkel, Alex Kleeman, and Christopher Manning
    • Finding Contradictions in Text
      Marie-Catherine de Marneffe, Anna Rafferty, and Christopher Manning
    • Which words are hard to recognize? Prosodic, lexical, and disfluency factors that increase ASR error rates
      Sharon Goldwater, Dan Jurafsky and Chris Manning
    • Unsupervised Learning of Narratives
      Nathanael Chambers and Dan Jurafsky

  • divider

    Blast from the Past

    Dear readers:

    Sesquipedigratitude to those few of you bold enough to take a stab at identifying last week's mystery linguist. Once again, the favorite wrong guess was `Tom Wasow'. But this week, we have a winner. The first person writing in with the correct identification was phonologist and vibraphonist extraordinaire Stephanie Shih, who apparently had a sudden photosynthetic epiphany in the middle of her Wednesday afternoon syntax class... The correct answer is, believe it or not...... Stanley Peters. Stephanie wins a double prize!

    We'll have more pictures from the meetings of the UCLA English Syntax Project in the weeks to come. But not yet. This week's picture was taken in Bloomington, Indiana in 1952. On the right is Tom Many Guns (Listen to a couple of his musical recordings at the Smithsonian Global Sound website). On the left is our mystery linguist, someone affiliated with our department, who started his fieldwork career at a very early age. The first correct answer sent to wins a prize.

    Who is this linguist?


    Meghan's Mystery Name Game

    OK folks. Last week's name was Liz, you know: [lIz]. That was easy and the winners were: Neal Snider and Lis Norcliffe! Let's try another one...

    The first person who finds Meghan and (in person) identifies the right (first) name (of a department member) wins a `chocolate prize'.

    Whose name is this?


    Linguistic Levity

  • NEW BUSH COINS (Change For The Better)
  • Daffy Definitions
    • Bustard -- n., A very rude Metrobus driver.
    • Debentures -- n., false teeth bought on credit.
    • Nincompoop -- n., the military command responsible for battlefield sanitation.
    • Ineffable -- adj., describes someone you absolutely cannot swear in front of, such as the Queen Mum, or Martha Stewart.
    • Pontificate -- n., a document given to each graduating pope.
    • Discussion -- n., a Frisbee-related head injury.
    • Internet -- n., the web of interns in which Ken Starr has tried to snare Bill Clinton.
    • Polarize -- n., a very cold look.
    • Brisket -- n., a straw container for a mohel's instruments.
    • Mausoleum -- n., floor covering used in crypts.
    • Cursive -- adj., sort of cursing, i.e., "Oh, fiddlesticks," or "H-E-double toothpicks."
    • Buttress -- n., a long strand of derriere hair.
    • Lobster -- n., a slick-talking, oily, obnoxious person who represents special interest groups on Capitol Hill
    • Foundling -- n., an apprehended child molester.
    • Shadow -- n., a fish whose husband has died.
    • Macadam -- n., the first man on Earth, according to the Celtic bible.
    • Marionettes -- n., residents of Washington who have been jerked around by the mayor.

  • divider


    For events farther in the future consult the Upcoming Events Page.
      • Representation Roundtable

        Abstraction at different levels of linguistic representation (the `grain size' problem)
        1:15-2:15 PM, ExL Lab
      • Linguistics at Santa Cruz Conference

        2:25pm-4:45pm, Stevenson Fireside Lounge, UCSC
      • Weekly Social!

        4:00 in the department lounge
    • MONDAY, 10 MARCH
      • Berkeley Phonetics and Phonology Forum

        Rachelle Waksler (San Francisco State University), Linda Wheeldon (Birmingham University), and Jenny Wing (Birmingham University
        "Feature specification and underspecification in the mental lexicon"

        12:00-1:00pm, 46 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
      • Graduate Research Grant Information Session

        Information session for the VPGE Dissertation Research Opportunity Fund and the H&S Graduate Research Opportunity (GRO) Award

        • Chris Golde (Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education)
        • Joseph Brown (Assistant Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies and Diversity Programs for H&S)
        • Shelly Coughlan (Anthropology Department) on field research proposals
        1:00pm, MJH 462 (Terrace Room)
      • Phonology Workshop

        Matthew Adams
        "Variation and Optimization in the English Comparative"

        3:15pm, MJH, Chair's Office
      • Workshop on Meaning, Context, and Communication: A Paris-Stanford Interchange

        9:30-11:30; 1-5 in Tresidder Union, Sequoia Room
      • NLaSP Colloquium

        Liang Huang (University of Pennsylvania)
        "Forest-based Search Algorithms in Parsing and Machine Translation"
        4:00pm, Gates 104
      • Workshop on Meaning, Context, and Communication: A Paris-Stanford Interchange

        9:30-11:30; 1-5 in Tresidder Union, Sequoia Room
      • SSP10: Symbolic Systems Forum

        Aurelie Beaumel
        "Placebo effects, price, and consumption utility: How price can change the taste of wine"
        4:15, 380-380C (Math Corner)
      • The Clara Sumpf Yiddish Lecture Series

        Dan Miron (Columbia)
        "Breathing Through Both Nostrils? Mendele Moicher Sforim's Yiddish/Hebrew Bilingualism and its Cultural Significance (in English)"
        8:00pm, Stanford Humanities Center
    • FRIDAY, 14 MARCH

    • divider

    • UPCOMING EVENTS (always under construction)
    • Got broader interests? The New Sesquipedalian recommends reading or even subscribing to the CSLI Calendar, available HERE.
    • HOW ABOUT MIT? UMass Amherst? U Chicago? Rutgers?


    Blood needed!

    The Stanford Blood Center is reporting a shortage of as well as a shortage of O, A+, and AB-. For an appointment: or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies. The Blood Center is also raising money for a new bloodmobile.


    Want to contribute information? Want to be a reporter? Want to see something appear here regularly? Want to be a regular columnist? Want to take over running the entire operation? Write directly to


    7 March 2008
    Vol. 4, Issue 19

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Lauren Hall-Lew
    Beth Levin
    Stacy Lewis

    John Ohala

    Humor Consultants:
    Susan D. Fischer
    Tom Wasow

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut

    Other Linguistics Newsletters

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Berkeley


    UMass Amherst

    U Chicago


    U Manchester

    U Chicago